New York Christian rapper Chud’e has been receiving support from a wide range of high-profile media outlets over recent times and dropped his first album Chilltown on New Year’s Eve 2019. The album has already been streamed more than 500,000 times since its release and fuses elements of gospel, pop, R&B and hip-hop. Chud’e’s journey has been a long and bumpy one, but he has overcome a host of obstacles to get to his current position. He first discovered Christian rap back in 2017 after a period living in Nigeria, where he re-established his relationships with his estranged father as well as Jesus.
The spiritual and creative growth of Chud’e
When Chud’e was in Nigeria, he found out that his father had now become a pastor. His father left the family home when he was ten years old and was once a small-time criminal. The artist, whose real name is Paul Iwenofu, had a troubled adolescence, during which he failed sixth grade and saw a number of friendships end due to his behavior, which he has linked to his lack of positive male role model. However, his trip to Nigeria proved to be a huge turning point and saw him gain a strong understanding of his culture and heritage. Once the rapper returned to the United States, he met a group of passionate Christian hip-hop fans and started studying criminal justice.
“Obstacles, difficulties and doubts”
Chilltown explores the rapper’s relationship with God over several seasons of his life and is named after the part of Brooklyn that he grew up in. His early single Day and Night talks about how he believes Jesus will guide him through the various “obstacles, difficulties and doubts” he expects life to throw at him. Not everyone in the artist’s life approved of his decision to start rapping due to their views on hip-hop, and this is discussed in his lyrics.
Chud’e in the media
Chud’e has recently been working with several talented independent artists and has received coverage and support from Christian music magazine CCM, the CCH YouTube Channel and Cross Rhythm Radio, who interviewed him about his life and work. He has also received exposure from CHH Source and chhtsnetwork on social media.
Chud’e hopes his music will appeal not only to Christians but non-believers too. He hopes that non-Christians will be able to find at least one track that they can relate to. He has received praise for his “clever punchlines” and “booming voice” and has spoken about the ways faith, perseverance and trial and error can enable individuals to prosper.
Key influences on the rapper’s music include the Christian hip-hop stars Bizzle and Lecrae, the latter of whom went to number one in the mainstream US album charts in 2014. Chud’e started writing and recording his own music not long after he first encountered Christian hip-hop and has already collaborated with figures such as Melanie Williams, Echo Guzman and Anodyne Virtue. An early champion of his music was the online radio station xRhythms, which is based in the UK.
Chud’e outside of music
The rapper has a day job as a Youth Development Specialist in New York. He aims to provide young people with support and inspiration, not only via his music but with his other work too. He frequently works with young people facing the same kinds of challenges he was once met with and wishes to become the positive role model that he never had a few years ago. The rapper expects the Lord to point him “in the right direction” and help him find the right platform for inspiring and supporting others, whether this is within or outside of the music industry.
The growing popularity of Christian rap
Christian rap has been around for almost forty years and is almost as old as mainstream hip-hop. The first-ever full-length Christian hip-hop album was released back in 1985 by Stephen Wiley, and the genre got its debut mainstream chart-topper in 2014 when Lecrae unveiled Anomaly. Some of the Christian hip-hop world’s best-known figures include Soup the Chemist, TobyMac and Shai Linne. Over the decades, many mainstream rappers have talked about their Christian beliefs. In 2019, Kanye West scored his first #1 on the Christian rap chart with his album Jesus Is King. The Christian rap movement also has its own awards ceremonies, and these include the Stellar Awards and the GMA Dove Awards. Many mainstream rappers are known for their Christian values but are not generally regarded as being part of the Christian hip-hop movement. Christian hip-hop tends to offer positive and uplifting messages but it can also deal with challenging themes.
To hear the increasingly popular work of Chud’e, head to Soundcloud, Spotify or YouTube. The rapper can also be found on various social media platforms, and these include Twitter and Instagram.